Art Model, Faerie

The new year is about to begin in just a few days. 100% of you will make some resolutions that only 99.3% of you will keep. 2021 has proven to be a travel restricted year, so I’m going to guess many of you will make New Years Resolutions that involve traveling abroad. Well, let’s see if I can give you some pointers. I have been continuously traveling since January 8th, 2018. But I’ve been backpacking abroad purposes for 10 years, (not including military service.)

If you desire to see the places you read about or learn about from TV, then as the title says, It all Starts with a Passport! That’s where you begin. There will be special cases for some people, but most everyone can simply call ahead to make an appointment with their local post office and tell them you want to apply for a passport.

I wish I had her original files with me.
I’d be fun to play with some new edits on them.

Give yourself PLENTY of time! This is not a quick process! Start your application at least 3 months before you think you will need it. Better still, start it now, even if you are not considering traveling in the next year. That way you have it on hand when the travel bug bites!

First, get certified copy of your birth certificate or proof of citizenship. For the certified copy, you can order it online or go to your state/county Vital Records Department. Bring this and some form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license to the post office. AND your Social Security Card. Have that with you. They’ll have you fill out a form DS-11 for an application for a NEW passport. If you like, you can >>click here<< to download a printout of the DS-11 form and then print it your self. If you need to renew an old one, it’s a form DS-82. 

Art Model, Faerie during one of my drawing sessions

Many post offices have services for passport photos for $15. If they don’t offer this service, you can get that done anywhere. You’ll just have to google possible locations. As of 27 December, prices have gone up recently by $20. Don’t trip about this. A new passport is now $165. Renewals are now $130. Just pay it and look forward to enjoying your trip.

This process can take up to 14 weeks! So don’t go booking your ticket for next month and then get stressed hoping your passport comes in on time. Don’t book a thing until you have a valid passport in your hands! Keep in mind, there are several factors that can keep you from being eligible to have a passport. If you’re behind on child payments, don’t expect a passport approval. Some criminal records, especially felony or even misdemeanor drug charges will stop you cold. Federal loan defaults can do this too. Check out your particular situation and see if you are affected. 

Stay tuned for Part II where I get into planning your trip!

Everybody loves a happy Faerie!